Friday, April 20, 2012

Fourth and fifth days at Cray

Thursday and Friday were, to put it mildly, infinitely better than "Day 1". Both days started at 6 a.m. (I'm not a morning person; at the same time there's some perverse pleasure in greeting the world before sunrise, before most people are awake, and before there's any traffic at all on the roads), because both yesterday and today I sat in the driver's seat for updating a development Cray's software to the latest nightly build. This is the same process I watched Monday morning when I first arrived, and now I'm doing it myself... with close supervision from the experts who normally do this two or three times a week.

Much of the 4-6 hour process is copy-and-paste from a wiki page of instructions, so I don't have to understand what each and every command does quite yet. I am getting the general feel for what's going on, though, and I've learned the most important acronyms and lingo. Perhaps most importantly, I'm feeling so much more confident that, yes, I will eventually understand all this (a feeling that was decidedly lacking on, say, Monday).

Yesterday after the software update and lunch, I dove back into that Perl book and finished two more lessons: variables and arrays. The language is similar to PHP, so, at least for now, learning is going quickly. (PHP is the language I used to write all the web apps for MA).

Today after the update I dove into learning how to style XML with something called XLS (or maybe it's XLS-FO). This is not dissimilar to how you'd style a web page (example: making text larger or smaller, different colors, etc), but the syntax is different, and new to me, so researching into that took my afternoon.

Why? Carl showed me a simple webpage he'd created that formatted (using XLS) a status report from a Cray. And he mentioned how he wanted part of it formatted differently.

Challenge accepted.

By the end of the day, I'd learned how to make that specific change, and also how to make the whole page look a little prettier. Now my web background is coming into play. When I showed Carl the new page he was very happy. And so was I. I'd actually accomplished something!

Interspersed in the days, of course, were good conversations. I met my second neighbor Jason today - he works from home most of the time, and today was his only day in the office this week. (Mario, my neighbor two desks down, has been friendly and helpful all week, I don't think I've mentioned his name here yet).

This afternoon Carl and I reminisced about St Olaf, and were joined by another Ole: new-to-me coworker Jim. Despite the years in between our classes, it turned out we each had a couple of the same teachers!

And last but almost more important than everything else, let's not forget the free donuts in the office on Friday mornings.

It's Friday night, and I've survived my first week. I can do this.

And though I'm exhausted, sick (flu or cold or something), still swamped with all there is to learn and do, both at work, and at home, and even though the phrase is overused, I'll still say it:

Life is good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Third day at Cray

The daily blog probably won't continue much longer, but I'm mostly doing this for myself, so in a few weeks/months/years I can look back and remember how terribly terrified I felt on my first day. (hyperbole).

Day 3 started slightly after 8 a.m., meeting Wendy to watch her boot a Cray, ask questions, and, mysteriously, start to feel like I might actually be beginning to understand some of this terminology.

Or maybe that was just gastrointestinal distress. Hard to distinguish sometimes.

Jason brought over a ridiculously thick user manual for me to dive into (light bedtime reading... or rather, reading that might cause bedtime), and we arranged that I'd meet him tomorrow at 6 a.m., when I'd actually sit in the driver's seat to install an update and boot a Cray. Eeek!

I did joke, however, after Wendy's repeated reminders that she wasn't expecting me to remember all these details, that I was ready to take the written test. I mean, not really, but I'm sorta catching on. Sort of. I feel pretty confident I could draw you a picture of how the Cray's nodes are connected, and which nodes do what.

The rest of the day, I:

- finally got my Windows account password reset so I could log into my email
- got my underground parking permit figured out... mostly
- debugged my Perl code from yesterday
- had lunch with Ben
- talked with Carl for a while about 1984, Cray, church and God, and who knows what else
- got a personal webspace set up so I can play around with a site Carl maintains
- met with Blaine (boss) and he assigned me a web project!!!! to mockup an interface for some other managers

Then I mowed the lawn and finished an audio book (A Monster Calls). I hate mowing the lawn, but having something productive to do made it more tolerable.

Now I think it's time for dinner and Netflix.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Second day at Cray

To say my second day went perfectly would be an overstatement. To say today was as stressful as yesterday, fortunately would also be an overstatement.

Today, in fact, was much better than yesterday. For starters, I got to sleep in, and not show up at the office until 9 a.m. And while there were cars on the road (as opposed to middle of the night non-traffic I encountered yesterday morning), I once again missed rush hour.

The highlights of today were:

- my Linux login credentials actually worked today! But no one’s bothered to tell me my Windows/email un/pw, so I still can’t check email. Nor could I set up my voicemail (no one’s told me what that ID is supposed to be, either). There’s great irony in all this, because I had more than a few moments of annoyance at MA when teachers had issues similar to what I’m experiencing right now. Neither Cray nor MA has great, or any, documentation for newcomers. I’m pondering what I can do to fix this.

- talking with Carl briefly, then reading some wiki pages about Cray’s scheduler application and it’s proprietary language for interacting with 3rd party batch systems. (or something like that - if that didn’t make any sense to you, it’s okay, because it doesn’t make very much sense to me [yet], either)

- lunch with my friend Ben, and his Cray friends.

- meeting Wendy, and talking with her for almost an hour. Wendy is a sysadmin, one of the folks I’ll be working with, and possibly taking some of their responsibilities on myself to free up their time. She’s been at Cray for 10+ years, and is a very very smart woman. On top of that, though, she was also very personable, and, like Carl, makes me feel at ease.

- reading chapter 1 of “Learning Perl”, about a programming language I need to learn for the sysadmin side of things. (so I’m told)

- Ben stopped by my desk, we went and sat overlooking the park outside, and talked about Cray, my experiences so far, his experiences, advice, wisdom, and so on.

After work, my parents hosted me for dinner. A three-fold occasion:

1) Grandpa’s birthday would have been yesterday.
2) Today, 27 years ago, is when Mom and Dad found out I was on the way.
3) To celebrate my first two days at Cray.

I wish I could have spent more time with them, maybe watched another Smothers Brothers or Carol Burnette episode like we did for Easter.

Instead, I left their house and went to Minnehaha to set up a new server at South Campus, and patch a bug in a web app. Which made for a very long work day.

On the plus side, I’m now done with the large extras casting project from this weekend (100 people Sunday, 40 Monday, 20 for tonight), and the client, as far as I know, is happy. Huge relief to have that off my plate. And by that I mean, I’m looking forward to the next time, I learned so many lessons on what to do better/more efficiently, but with starting the new job this week, having less on my plate is a much needed gift.

Monday, April 16, 2012

First day at Cray

I know a lot of folks will be curious how my first day went. Here goes:

Last Thursday I was given the choice of showing up at 6 or 9 a.m. Or presumably somewhere in between, but I chose 6, in order to watch an installation. Now I thought this would be a video feed of a massive cluster being installed. Turned out it was a software upgrade on a development cluster. More on that later.

I woke up a few minutes before my alarm this morning, at 4:50ish. I had tried to go to bed early last night, but the anticipation of the new job, plus stress from the ongoing extras casting project I'm working on, kept my brain on overdrive for a while as I lay in bed, wishing for sleep.

Anyway, I got up, got going, and was on the road at 5:30.

I parked at 5:50. In the wrong ramp, because I couldn't find the right one, then, in the dark, couldn't even find the right building. I'd only been there once before, and it was sunny. This morning at o-dark-thirty it was still nighttime. And raining. A minute or two after 6 I got into the building and made my way to second floor, to the suite where I'd gone for the interview.

Door locked, lights off, no one around.

Now's when I become worried that I hadn't actually heard back from my boss (Blaine) confirming the time. I'd replied to him Thursday afternoon, literally 3 minutes after he emailed asking about my start time. Then some skyway walkers told me the Cray people never get there before 6:30/7. So I waited.

And waited.

And thought to myself, what a crappy way to start my first day. Worse, I was pretty sure in one of the suites there was a person waiting for me, but I was in the wrong place.

At 6:30 the receptionist arrived and let me in, but said Blaine usually doesn't arrive until much later. So I stuck by her as she opened up the suites, turned on lights, restocked coffee, etc. We bumped into Scott, a now-to-be-co-worker of mine, who introduced himself and took me back to the office area, where I got to watch Jason, another now-coworker, do the software upgrade. They were both very friendly, but I was A) tired and B) in over my head. Which I should have expected. Jason answered a lot of questions, nevertheless there were simply A LOT of terminologies and acronyms and I felt lost and overwhelmed and thinking to myself, "I'm never going to get this".

On a complete side-note: I love how so many people have decorated their cubicles. Scott's, for instance, is literally covered with rubber ducks. Hundreds. It's just his thing. In another cube I saw a Winnie the Pooh, in another, a pet rock collection, Star Wars collectibles, and so on.

Back to watching Jason. While I was panicking on the inside, they sent me across the hall (back to the main suite) to meet with Mary Lu. She took my photo, gave me an ID badge, and told me all about the building, parking, etc. She showed me all the free tea/coffee/hot cocoa, the vending area and fridges, then around the building, underground parking, desk areas, and so on. Very friendly, helped me feel a little more at ease.

Blaine finally arrived about 9 or so, apparently he'd never received my email (it got lost in cyberspace, and came in Friday night after business hours). We talked briefly, he basically said "learn stuff from Jason", and so I continued watching Jason's Linux prowess. There was literally nothing else for me to do: my workstation hadn't been set up yet, and I was specifically told I didn't need to bring my laptop. But the time did give me a chance to ask Jason more questions, and we also talked briefly about his family, and the three iOS apps he has in the App Store.

Ben, my roommate from college, arrived a little after 10. I had to give him a hard time, since I'd already been there 4 hours! Really, I was just grateful to see a face I already knew.

Blaine walked by again and offered to take me to lunch with a couple other coworkers (one of whom happened to be Ben's brother, who I'd met before!), and they brought me to a delicious diner a couple skyways away. Let me rephrase: the diner may or may not have been delicious, I didn't try eating it, but the food they served was delicious.

During lunch Blaine and the others admitted how much lingo there is to learn just to get a basic grasp on what's being said, and I readily agreed. I was naïve to think I could jump right into doing something productive on the first day.

After lunch I spent the rest of the afternoon with Carl, who is currently doing most of the job that I'll be taking on (he's got more important things to work on).

First we toured the Cray cube farms and he introduced me to some key people that I'd either be working with or asking questions, or just good people to know in general. Then we grabbed a conference room and, in between my yawns (he wasn't boring, I was just so dang tired), Carl walked through the basics of their computer environment.

This time was a Godsend. He made me feel much more at ease than I had all day. Finally I felt like, "yes, I might be able to understand this." Much of what we talked about helped bring this morning's time watching Jason into focus - now some of those commands were making more sense, knowing how the clusters are set up. The pretty pictures on the whiteboard also helped. Well, they were functional diagrams, anyway. And we also tangented into more fun topics of conversation, about technology, life, and whatever.

After we finished, my desktop was all set up and ready to use. Except my login didn't work. Turns out I don't yet exist in their system. Typical. No, seriously, this is the kind of luck I have - if something can be wonky, it's gonna happen to me. It's fine, they should have it fixed tomorrow.

And that was my first day. The end.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Day

It's my last day at Minnehaha Academy.

It snuck up on me. I'm not ready. So much left undone. So much potential. So many projects I've dreamed of doing, and now won't get to after all.

It'll be okay.

Right now I'm just numb. Too busy with my life to have emotions right now. Tomorrow will be harder.

Sunday, April 08, 2012


(Part 4 of 4)

I'm scared.

We've locked the door, hopefully they won't come after us.

I'm still in shock. I can't believe he's dead.

I cried myself to sleep last night. I think we all did. My parents were right. I should never have left home to follow him. Stupid, dumb decision. I hope they'll take me back. If I beg, if I tell them how wrong I was– What was that noise?

It's the women. They're out of breath. Maybe they've been chased! Maybe the crowd's coming after all! Pack my things. Wait. What are they saying? The tomb. It's... empty?

They're crazy. Hallucinating. I can't blame them. I've lost count how many times I've wished it was all a dream. A terrible, awful nightmare. And any moment I'll wa– Another noise.

It can't be.

My God.


Saturday, April 07, 2012


(Part 3 of 4)

My heart is broken. His body is broken. I guess I should count my blessings? But I can't! He's gone! Dead. Hanging up there. Limp. Lifeless.

After everything he did, how could this happen? That man over there, watching from the hillside, he used to be blind! That woman, she was a leper. He healed them. He fed a crowd larger than I've ever seen in my life. He walked on a lake. He made a paralytic dance, he f-ing raised Lazarus from the dead! After all that, after everything he did, why couldn't he save himself?!

God damn it!!! Jesus!!! Why?! Why did you leave us? What purpose does this serve?! How could you just leave us on our own, thinking we’d be okay without you? We gave up EVERYTHING to follow you, and this is what it comes to?

Friday, April 06, 2012


(Part 2 of 4)

Out of breath– been running– scared– don't know what– to do.


How could you? What did they offer you? Why?

No time to think about that now. Have to stay hidden, out of sight.

Peter. Oh Peter. I'm sorry. I heard the rooster. I'm so sorry. It's true?

He's not answering me. He doesn't need to. I see it in his eyes. It's true.

Three times. He denied him three times. He's crying. I've never seen Peter cry. All of this happened so fast! I don't understand.

Peter? Peter listen to me. Peter, I want you to know, I don't blame you. No, I don't. I ran away. And I didn't look back. You followed them, waited outside the high priest's house. I couldn't even do that. I'm such a coward.

Where do we go from here? Those screams. Oh, Peter, what are they doing to him? What are they going to do to us?!

I just want it all back the way it was.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Supper, and a nap

(Part 1 of 4)

My feet are clean. You washed them while we ate and drank. You're kinda weird, but I like you.

Why did tonight feel so different? Everyone was somber. While the reprieve from Peter's stories might have been refreshing, something just felt... off... – could it be I actually missed Peter's joking and embellished fish tales? Almost as if, this was my last chance to hear them, before... before what?

Something's in the air. Maybe that's why Judas rushed off so soon, he could sense the storm coming. Maybe.

Time to go? Okay. It was delicious, really. In my humble opinion, a meal worthy of history. Well, I guess, maybe not quite that amazing. It's not as if this is the last meal we'll all eat together, right? Haha.

You're not laughing.

Sorry, it sounded funny in my head. Hey, wait up! Where are we going? It's a little late to plant in the gardens, isn't it? I'm confused. You know when I said you're weird, I guess I still haven't gotten used to it. You've led us places I never thought I'd see. We've met people I never thought I'd meet; we've seen... miracles... I never thought I'd believe in miracles.

This rock looks comfortable. I mean, as comfortable as a rock can be. Which I suppose isn't very comfortable, but my belly's full and I'm tired. Pray? Oh, yes, I'll pray.

I wonder if God really hears our prayers? Does God care? John always says God does. Is he right? Oh well, doesn't matter. You said pray, so I'll pray:

"Alaha, Abba, God of Abraham and Moses, whoever you are, I pray for your presence tonight. Everyone's tense. The Rabbi is speaking riddles again, and we know not what they mean. Help us to understand, that we ... –"


What? I fell asleep? I'm so sorry, I'll try harder next time.

Do you hear that? Peter? Do you hear that? It sounds like a crowd. Sounds like they are close. And it sounds like they aren't happy.

Defying Gravity (aka, doing something Cray-zy)

2012 has turned my life upside down. Mostly all positive. If you'd asked two months ago what my life would look like, there's no way I would have guessed.

In these last two months, I:
  1. [finally] decided to pursue my MDiv at seminary.
  2. launched a casting/extras casting company, booked background for several commercial shoots in the last couple weeks, just finished two nights of auditions for a theatre show, and also just got hired to book 100+ extras for a national TV show shooting here later in April.
  3. received an email from college roommate and good friend Ben, inviting me to apply for a position at Cray, the supercomputer company.
In your years of living you've no doubt encountered moments when you realize, "life will never be the same again." Change is happening. And ready or not, here it comes.

When I read Ben's email, I was intrigued. He's told me stories about Cray, that they're a good employer and he enjoys his job. I've even (very briefly) considered applying in the past, but the timing never seemed right.

It never seemed right because I'm comfortable working at Minnehaha. I know the system, I know the people, and I'm pretty awesome at my job. Why leave?

But ready or not, this opportunity was knocking at my door. So why not see what happens?

I sent Ben my resumé, he forwarded to his boss, and, less than 6 days after Ben's initial email, I had my interview.

During the interview I met with Blaine (my would-be boss), and Carl (another coworker who, up until now, has been doing the job they'd be hiring me to do, in order to take it off his plate). Both were friendly, and I felt comfortable, as much as one can in an interview, I suppose.

I've only had one "real" job interview (for another IT position), and that was more than a year ago, so I didn't really know any tips or tricks except to be myself. And send a hand-written thank-you note afterward. I thought, "surely they'll have better candidates, but one of my goals for 2012 was to have at least one interview, so if nothing else, I'm crossing that off my todo list."

The job description itself, in non-techy-speak: test a bunch of programs with a bunch of other programs, see how (or if) they work together, document it, and let the programmers know what might be a bug that needs fixing. As my interviewers put it, the job is 80-90% testing/documenting, and 10-20% maintaining a website where clients can read the results.

The down-side: this 80% involves a considerable amount of UNIX/Linux server administration, which, while not completely foreign to me, is not my strongest strength. The plus-side: they reassured me that, if I were hired, they could train me on that 80%, whereas it's harder to find someone who's got experience and creativity on the 20% web portion.

I felt good about the interview: I cited specific examples of my problem-solving ability - writing different scripts at MA that integrated with our Open Directory, and later with Google Apps, and how I had no knowledge going in, learned everything on my own, and problem-solved some very complex issues. It felt wonderful bragging about myself in a not-really-bragging sort of way.

I asked lots of questions about the job - found out it's part-time contract work, not benefits-eligible - and in total spent about two hours with Blaine and Carl. They said they needed to interview a few other folks the next week, so I wouldn't hear back for a while. In the meantime, I needed to total up my living expenses and give them a number of how much I'd like to get paid.

The problem is, if they were to offer me the job, I'd essentially have three jobs on the table: Minnehaha, Cray, and Casting. There is time in my day for any two, but not all three. Given that Casting won't be going away, if I were to be offered and accept a position at Cray, it would need to offer enough to replace Minnehaha's paycheck, plus the health benefits, phone/internet service, etc, that the school covers. I threw out a number that seemed to work, Blaine emailed back, thanked me, and said they'd be in touch.

I put it out of my mind. No sense worrying about it until there's something to worry about.

Two Fridays ago, I got an email from Blaine: they'd chosen me. He was working with HR to draw up the contract, and I should expect an offer the following week.


Humbling, exciting, nerve-wracking, and at the end of the day, I convinced myself again, "don't worry about it yet." Because until I know what number they're offering, I can't make a decision: if Cray offers less than what I need to cover expenses, then that would be an easy decision; otherwise, I'll deal with it when I actually have facts to ponder.

Monday came. No email from Blaine.

Tuesday, no email.



Here goes nothing. 8 page PDF with lots of information, NDA agreements, places to sign, etc. And the offer. The actual, real-life job offer.

They met my requested number.

Freak-out again! I practically ran out of the school building, nervously tapping at my phone. I needed help, advice, and I knew the two people I most wanted to talk it over with were my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Mark. When if comes to financial advice, I know few people I'd trust more.

Lisa picked up, I asked if they were free that evening, and then after work I drove down to talk it out. Two hours later, we'd worked through all the pros and cons. Actually, there really weren't any cons. I've long wanted to experience life outside of Minnehaha, I've even joked that "getting fired would be the best thing that ever happens to me," because it would force me to put myself out into the real world. Cray's offer will cover my expenses, even health insurance. If it works out and there's a full-time position that opens up later on, great, I'll have my foot in the door. If this job runs its course and the time comes to move on, great, I've got so many options open to me, from the corporate world to independent contracting, web development, maybe the casting company will become a full-time gig by then, or "worst" case I can apply at an Apple store (there's nothing "worst" about it, though - I'd love it). And worst-worst case, I'm forced to say to my parents, "I can't afford my rent payment this month," and they'll understand and work with me. I have the benefit of not buying my house from a bank that would foreclose on me. My absolute worst case scenarios are better than most of the world's best cases. Why am I afraid?

And again, looking at my last two months and what's changed, why worry about what life will look like in a year, when I don't even know what the next two weeks will bring?

After leaving Mark and Lisa's I went to my parents' and filled them in. They were supportive of my decision. Because really, I've thought pretty much everything through. No one can rationally accuse me of making a rash decision here.

I emailed Cray back Wednesday night to accept. Thursday afternoon I met with Merry, my boss at Minnehaha, to give her my two-weeks notice. She was amazingly supportive. Sad for the school, but supportive of me as a person. We talked about a transition plan, and how I didn't want to leave the school in a lurch. So I know I'll be back a little bit to help train in the new person when they hire him/her.

Over the last week I've met one-on-one with my tech team coworkers, and they've all been very supportive, too. A year ago I thought I was leaving to move to California, so in a sense, I worked through some pre-emptive mourning at that time. Still this experience is bittersweet, because let's be honest: this is a major life change for me. I've been employed at Minnehaha (at least part time) for almost 9 years, and it's become a home. It's not like I'll never be back - Cray's just over in St. Paul, and I'm not moving anywhere (though my commute does quintuple from 3 to 15 minutes). But I know life will be so incredibly different.

Not bad-different. Just, different.

To quote Elphaba, "Now it's too late for second guessing; too late to go back to sleep; it's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap!"

My letter to all Minnehaha employees:

Leaving home

In September 2001 a shy, introverted 10th grader came to Minnehaha Academy, and for eleven years, this community has been a home. As a student I remember bringing home trophies for the Debate team; as a student worker, I remember countless hours of tutelage from Peter, my mentor and predecessor; I remember walking through the chapel building when it was under construction; and I remember my heart-warming graduation/going-away-to-college party from the business office. These and so many more precious moments fill my mind when I think about Minnehaha.

Now it’s time to explore the next chapter in my life: I’ve accepted a position at Cray, the supercomputer company, to do some nerdy computer work, and I start there on April 16.

Minnehaha forever will remain part of me. And as I reminisce about these past eleven years, I’m also excited to hear news from the next eleven, and beyond. If I were to write out all my hopes and dreams for Minnehaha, they’d look something like this:

I hope that, as budgets continue to be cut, we won’t lose focus on The Student; I hope that activities benefitting The Student will continue in spite of financial burden and overall enrollment downturn. In the same vein, I hope every department and office will be creative in how we spend money, remembering that art supplies, music sheets, athletic equipment, or classroom desks and chairs, are just as important as office remodels and administrative restructuring.

I hope the capital improvements budget is allowed to replace the dying carpet around our buildings (especially the computer lab at North :), and that painters will continue to beautify our hallways, giving them a new, vibrant life.

I hope Minnehaha will launch a 1-1 laptop or iPad initiative for middle and high school students. Our school has the potential to be leaders in technology, but right now we’re just followers.

I hope to see more paperless classrooms and fewer printers.

I hope to see a deeper understanding of diversity: theological, skin, socio-economic, political, etc. I think too often we, myself especially included, think it’s “us” vs “them” - I would desire conversations to open up new perspectives, on all sides of all issues.

I hope Minnehaha will finally hire openly GLBT faculty members at both campuses, not only to grow diversity, but more importantly to start transforming Minnehaha into a truly safe space for questioning youth.

Most importantly, I hope Minnehaha continues to foster a community deeply rooted in our common faith, in which teachers, staff, and students continue to be blessed with opportunities to worship and pray with one another before our Most High God.

My deepest and most heartfelt thanks to those many coworkers who have supported me, brightened my day with your smiles, listened to my frustrations and joys, counseled and inspired me, both as student and more recently, as friend. My eyes are tearing up - I will miss you.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;
May the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.

- Jeremy

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Pursuing Seminary: Chatting with my Pastor

The day after my 567 question psych inventory, I meandered over to my pastor's house to chat about seminary. He knew I'd be coming - Peter had already warned, er, mentioned it to him.

I was very honest, I told Greg I don't have all the details figured out, not sure how I'll be funding this endeavor, not sure how I'll balance it with my job(s), but right now in my life feels like the right time to actively pursue my Masters of Divinity anyway, despite these uncertainties. I explained my principal of "waiting until the last responsible moment" to make a decision.

Let's be clear: this does not mean waiting until an irresponsible moment; I just mean, for example, if you're building a building, don't waste time picking a brand of soap dispensers when you don't even have blueprints drawn.

Greg might have questioned the wisdom of this approach at first; hopefully I explained myself well enough to alleviate his trepidation.

Honestly I don't remember much of the conversation. We talked about motives people might have when they enroll in seminary, and from the sounds of it, I'm wanting to go for the right reasons. And Greg reminded me that if I go to seminary, God will use that. Whereas if I don't go to seminary, God will use that, too. I don't need to pressure myself into knowing exactly where that road will lead.

I give myself permission to back out at any time, or to delay, or whatever, if I need to. It's not failure, it's just me making the best decisions I can at any moment.

And so my prayer has been this: "God, if this isn't what I'm supposed to do, then take it away, close the door, build a brick wall." So far there have been distractions in the form of other life opportunities, but nothing that leads me to believe God is trying to veer me away. So I'm keeping going.